“Error is only the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.” Henry Ford
I spent several years selling welding consumables into the maintenance and repair environment. I have to say, when you can strike an arc and weld dissimilar pieces of metal together, the testosterone level of the demonstration participants is high, but there was one particular product line that sent those levels skyrocketing off the charts.
Imagine a three-foot copper tube, attached by a hose to an oxygen tank. When ignited, this tube would slice through slabs of steel – up to two-foot thick. Sparks would be flying and the molten metal would turn a brilliant shade of glowing amber. Yep, it’s an awesome demonstration.
During one particular demo, we were having so much fun, we didn’t see the small piles of sawdust that were catching fire. Nor did we realize that the smoke was traveling up through the ceiling and into the main part of the office – right where an executive board meeting was taking place. Sure enough, the President, Vice President, CEO, CFO and others were all in attendance.
I didn’t realize the aftereffects until a security guard stopped me on the way out to inquire as to what the heck I was doing in the shop. It seems that the fire department was called and a full evacuation of the office was necessary. I didn’t get the sale that day.
Thankfully, after dogged persistence for the next six months, and paying close attention to safety details on future demos, I did get the order, and they became a great customer from then on.
What have been some of your most memorable “errors?” What lessons did you learn?
Remember, just like Thomas Edison said, “I did not fail 10,000 times. I just found 10,000 ways how NOT to make a light bulb.”